Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Nuclear Evolution: The Age of Love (Ubiquity)

Funky fusion power waxes and wanes during Sa-Ra's latest album, Nuclear Evolution: The Age of Love.

Funky fusion power waxes and wanes during edgy producers'' latest
You don''t need the reference to the cult classic The Warriors, heard at the outset of Sa-Ra''s latest album, to realize this trio is its own strange, unique tribe. Om''Mas Keith, Shafiq Husayn and Taz Arnold have made a name for themselves as producers with a mystic, freaky bent, dispersing tracks filled with liquid soul, subsonic bass, twisted beats and dirty come-ons. After weathering various ups and downs—getting a full-length shelved at Kanye''s label, working on Erykah Badu''s last album—the group doesn''t fully deliver on their own next-level promise on Nuclear Evolution. Most of the album''s great moments come when they''re not trying too hard to fly the freak flag. “He Say She Say,” with its warm, gurgling bass, and the back-to-back joy of “Bitch Baby” and “Love Czars,” a well-layered strut and smooth groove, respectively, showcase fluid production. The sludgy beat of “Dirty Beauty” and the semi-lucid drug narrative “Traffika” sound more bogged down. A bonus CD with six previous releases, like the old but still solid “Double Dutch,” includes a fitting cover of “Just Like a Baby,” a testament to the unique headspace where Sa-Ra operates. [3.5 out of 5 stars]